Are Verbal Agreements Recognized by the California Family Law Courts?

family law attorneysAt R & S Law Group, we get this question a lot: are verbal agreements considered legally valid? Many couples address the possibility of divorce long before it happens, and it isn’t uncommon for them to establish potential divorce agreements. The thing is, most of these discussions occur in person and very few couples set out to establish a prenup or other type of legal agreement beforehand.

So how do the family law courts in CA deal with verbal agreements, particularly in regards to asset division or child custody? The short answer is: they don’t. As many of our clients are dismayed to find out, most verbal agreements are not recognized during each step of the divorce process.

Verbal Agreements Hold No Weight During Asset Division

In California, all agreements involving asset and property division must be in writing. When there isn’t a formal writing agreement in place, the courts don’t rely on verbal agreements to figure out the technical details. Instead, they proceed with standard California community property laws, which is where all marital assets are divided equally between both parties. This is true for all income, property, and assets that were acquired after the couple gets married.

Child Custody is Based on the Child’s Best Interests

Likewise, child custody matters aren’t hashed out on simple verbal agreements. With these matters, the priority of the court always lies with the best interests of the child. This means that they look at other factors, such as the living conditions under each parent’s home, the physical/mental health of both parents, and more.

That said, there are cases when parents have a parenting schedule they have verbally agreed to and the courts find this arrangement to promote the child’s best interests. Part of protecting the child’s interests involves preserving the status quo, so there would be little reason for a court to want to modify a plan that already works for the child.

Recruit the Aid of a Seasoned California Divorce Attorney

For the most part, verbal agreements hold no weight in California family law, which is why written agreements and other formal legal arrangements are essential. Always recruit the assistance of a qualified legal professional when dealing with divorce, child custody arrangements, prenuptial agreements, and anything else involving family law in CA.

We at R & S Law Group, LLPhope this post taught you a thing or two about verbal agreements during divorce proceedings in CA. If you want to learn more, don’t delay in calling us at R & S Law Group directly. Contact one of our skilled family law attorneys today by calling our office at (949) 825-5245.